Al Jazeera's Fresh Eye On Africa
By Tumi Makgetla


If wars and genocides were Africa’s only news, African newspapers and international news networks like CNN would run the same stories. But Al-Jazeera International (AJI) aims to be different.

As part of a “fresh 360 degree [change] to news coverage,” the soon-to-be-launched television network plans to run African news stories as part of its normal news cycle -- not just when violence occurs.

“For South African viewers, a fresh approach means two things. We will treat any African story as a normal news event, and we won’t fall into the trap of only dealing with Africa when there’s war,” explains Claude Colart, the senior producer at AJI’s Johannesburg bureau, which began setting up earlier this year.

AJI, the English-language offshoot of Al-Jazeera Arab Language News Channel, launched in 1996, will start broadcasting worldwide, 24 hours a day, from next March or April. Like its Arabic-language parent, it will headquartered in Doha, Qatar.

It announced on Monday that former senior e.tv and SABC reporter Kalay Maistry will be its Southern African correspondent.

Established last year, AJI has hired a string of “name” international reporters, including Steve Clark, previously executive producer at Sky News, and Riz Khan, who hosts a show on CNN. The MD, Nigel Parsons, previously directed Associated Press Television News. When the network begins broadcasting next year, its anchors will not address “our viewers in North America” or any other region, as the network will broadcast the same content worldwide.

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